The most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy, Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Crafted utilizing fully-ripe, intensely-flavored and structured shiraz grapes, the result is a unique Australian style that is now recognized as one of the most consistent of the world’s great wines. With an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951, Grange clearly demonstrates the synergy between shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia.
The 2018 Grange has familial flavors of a deconstructed black forest cake – chocolate, custard, bright wild raspberry along with a beefy accompaniment and notes of sarsaparilla whirled into the mix. Mouthcoating - a confluence of tannin, acidity, oak, and fruit – all joyously meshed together. There is a convex mid-palate that generously supports upfront palate grip and a continuum of delight all the way to lengthy, lingering finish.
Penfolds has a very long and meandering history, and represents generations of winemaking knowledge in action. In 1844, Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold planted vineyards at Magill Estate near Adelaide. The first Penfolds wines, from the 1800s, were made from newly established vineyards around Adelaide and made for the enjoyment of new South Australian colonists. During the first part of the 20th century, Penfolds gradually added significant acreage and became a household name across Australia. It exported table and fortified wines throughout the Commonwealth. After a visit to France in 1950, Penfolds chief winemaker Max Schubert dreamed bigger, wanting to dramatically expand the winery’s export presence, as the French had. The iconic Penfolds Grange came forth in 1951, leading to a remarkable parade of wines that would bring Penfolds wines worldwide acclaim for their richness, consistency, and longevity.
A robust Grange from a lauded vintage, this wields sheer power with such compelling prowess. Uncompromising Grange. There are rich blackberries and plums on offer, together with brazen oak and abundant notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, charcoal, cola and hard brown spices. So fleshy and intense. Dark-chocolate and cocoa-powder aromas and flavors here, too. The tannins are polished and long, extruding deep into the finish and holding endlessly. Dark chocolate, black cherry, dark plum and more. Impressive. Brazen. One of the great Granges that will drink magnificently for decades to come.
This wine comes with high expectations—as does the vintage. The 2018 vintage across South Australia (and cheekily, we could probably extend the accolade to all of Australia) was excellent. It was warm, but without incident, and responsible for powerfully ripe, serious wines. Many producers made some of their best wines in this vintage. So here, to the 2018 Grange: there is spiced raspberry, lashings of salted licorice, red curry paste, layers of forest berries, rendered lamb fat and crushed pink peppercorns to start. In the mouth, the tannins close around the fruit with the same polish and seamlessness as the 2008, possibly the 2004? Very different vintages, but there is a textural similarity for me. This is polished and glossy and so very pretty. It contains 3% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, and 69% Barossa, 18% McLaren Vale and the balance from Clare Valley. Each of the regions brings with it its own characteristics. Barossa brings the red dirt, blood, deli meat and rust. McLaren Vale brings the plush purple fruits with a side of meat and licorice. Clare brings the polish, the opulence and the velvet texture. With their powers combined, this is an extraordinary Grange. One of the true greats, which will only get better as it ages.
A remarkable wine, bursting with complexity and intensity but on a polished, mouthcoating and juicy frame, which makes this easy to enjoy now. Features chicory, sarsaparilla, dark chocolate and salted caramel notes that mingle with ripe black cherry, framboise and huckleberry flavors, backed by hints of almond paste and savory details of cured meat and fresh-crushed rosemary that linger on the epic finish. Drink now.
The warm ’18 vintage of Penfolds’s most iconic wine delivers on all it promises. It promptly fills the nose with a multitude of aromas: black cherry, grilled plums, dark chocolate, cracked black pepper, roasting herbs and spices and a polished glean of well-placed oak. The palate is powerful, dignified, sculpted. Decades of age await.
The 2018 Grange Bin 95 is an ultra-premium blend of Shiraz and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. It will go down as one of the great Grange vintages with immaculate balance and poise despite immense concentration. The sheer density of fruit is breath-taking, with exceptional vitality also on display. There is a dense, muscular core of fruit including blackberries, licorice, tar and dried sage in perfect alignment with decadent but well integrated American oak. Despite superb palate concentration, it is also surprisingly light on its feet and vibrant with wave after wave of brooding dark berry fruit and soy sauce flavours. A deep well of tannins also support an almost endless and distinguished finish. This will age incredibly well and improve for decades